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National Forest Inventory and Analysis
Spatial Data Services
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National FIA
Spatial Data Services

Louis C. Wyman Forestry Sciences Laboratory
271 Mast Road
PO Box 640
Durham, NH 03824

Elizabeth LaPoint


 United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

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How to Request

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How it Works
Building the Database

National FIA Spatial Data Services staff will access a database containing sample locations for all base Phase 2 grid FIA plots which are included in the FIADB (FIA’s national database). In addition, Phase 3 plots will be available as well. These sample locations will be obtained from the FIADB application housed at North Central FIA. Procedures will be developed to keep the local database up to date.

A series of other national base GIS layers, including the hexagonal grids for Phase 2 and Phase 3 plots and other layers deemed relevant will be assembled.

Requesting Data

All requests are to be made in writing and will include:

a. Contact information for the requester;

b. Full description of the product desired;

c. Justification as to why exact spatial locations are needed in order to accomplish the intended work;

d. Statement that the requester agrees to provide appropriate acknowledgment or citation to the FIA program for all uses of any delivered products.

Requests should be directed to

National FIA Spatial Data Services
Attn: Elizabeth LaPoint
Northeastern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073

Tel: 610.557.4049
Fax: 610.557.4250

Requests will be reviewed and a determination of whether the request will be fulfilled will be made. The review will consider

a. Whether, in the opinion of the staff, the requester truly needs access to exact coordinates in order to accomplish their objective or whether other tools exist to address the request;

b. Whether the data necessary to address the request is on hand or can be obtained; and

c. Whether the capacity exists to address the request in a reasonable time frame.

We reserve the right to decline to process any request. If a request is declined, the requester will be notified in writing. If other tools exist (e.g. MapMaker) which can address a rejected request, the requester will be informed.

Once a request is approved for processing by National FIA SDS staff, then permission will be sought from to proceed from the Regional FIA Program(s) whose data are the subject of the request. Requests spanning more than one Regional FIA Program must be cleared by each affected Program before the request can be completed.

Each involved Regional FIA Program will at their discretion choose one of the following options.

a. Deny the request, in which case the requester will be notified by FIA SDS staff;

b. Approve the request and choose to perform the necessary work themselves, in which case the requester will be referred to the Regional FIA Program office;

c. Approve the request and authorize the request to proceed. If processing the request requires additional data from the Regional FIA Program beyond what is already available, then the Regional FIA Program agrees to provide those data.

Once granted appropriate approvals, the Service Center will produce the requested deliverables including an explanation of the processing steps and pertinent metadata. The product will also include an acknowledgment or citation to be used by the requester for giving appropriate credit to the FIA program. Deliverables will be distributed in various formats, including, FTP, email and compact disc. The requester agrees to acknowledge in any publication the assistance of the National FIA SDS and the Regional FIA programs involved with the request. Additionally, the requester should use the following format for citation of the FIA data itself:

USDA Forest Service. 2000. Forest inventory and analysis national core field guide, volume 1: Field data collection procedures for phase 2 plots, version 1.6. USDA Forest Service, Internal report. On file at USDA Forest Service, Washington Office, Forest Inventory and Analysis, Washington, D.C.

a. Upon completion, the deliverables will be reviewed to ensure that they in no way disclose FIA sample locations.

b. After security review by National FIA SDS staff, deliverables will be sent to the Regional FIA Program(s) designated representative for security and quality review.

c. After review and approval by the Regional FIA Program, deliverables will be delivered to the requester by either the Regional FIA Program or, at the discretion of the Regional FIA Program, by the SDS staff.


Supplying a quality product is critical to the FIA Spatial Data Services mission. Methods of ensuring quality will include: tracking and review of data processing procedures; review by both the NE FIA GIS staff and the requesting Unit’s staff; customer feedback; and a project specific quality assurance checklist.

Visitor Policy

National FIA Spatial Data Services will work with customers who would like to more directly utilize the FIA plot information at the headquarters in Newtown Square, PA. We will attempt to provide the customer with a workspace, computer and GIS software access, and information on lodging and transportation. Any customer coming into direct contact with the plot information will be under supervision of SDS staff at all times, and will be forbidden from creating a copy of plot information for any use outside of the building. Requests for site visits will be evaluated based on space availability and the availability of SDS staff, and will be subject to the same procedures identified above under ‘Data Request Procedures’.


We are currently involved in formulating our security plan with the help of a security consultant from a local IT consulting group. In addition to standard Windows 2000 security settings, we are considering the following:

  1. Installing a personal firewall for the PC on which the data are housed.
  2. Installing auditing software that will track all users' activities, including file access and manipulation.
  3. Establishing a weekly protocol of updating Windows 2000 security software by accessing and installing Microsoft security patches as they are produced.

In addition to the formal security policy, we plan to screen our data requests so that:

  1. Information retrievals are consistent with the privacy constraints as outlined in the FIA confidentiality policy.
  2. All project deliverables are submitted for security review to the appropriate individual(s) at the Regional FIA Program(s) from which the plot data originated.

Disclaimers | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Privacy Notice